Wednesday, 20 June 2018

Packing

I'm taking a short break...... I've started making long lists and collecting things that need to go into the suitcase.
Yep.... there are piles of clothes all over the place, and I'm busy doing laundry, clearing out the food in the fridge, changing money, making phone calls, arranging a ride to the airport.
I'll be in England for a week, then Scotland for 12 days with the Men of Note Concert Tour.  I'm definitely not singing, I'm just a hanger on.
I bought a new rain jacket as it always rains in Scotland, but the weather forecast for the area in England where I'll be is HOT! I hope it's not too hot, I wilt in the heat.

Wednesday, 13 June 2018

Mrs Henny Penny

Here's Mrs Henny Penny and her 3 chicks....

.... created from wire, aluminum foil, masking tape, paper, glue, gesso, paint and googly eyes from the dollar store! All sitting on an egg-shaped field of daisies.

Friday, 8 June 2018

Painting en Plein Air

Yesterday I joined some of my painting group and we went into the green Ontario countryside, armed with chairs, easels, water bottles, paints and canvases to do some outdoor painting, something I'd never tried before.
We went to a secluded spot which used to be farmland before the Federal Government took it over to build an airport that never happened (and I hope it never will, long story!). The trees have grown tall in the past 30 years, and the land is overgrown.
I set up my chair and easel in the shade, put on my big floppy sunhat, and stated to sketch, and then paint. Our instructor said only use 6 colours (a warm blue, red and yellow, and a cool blue, red and yellow) and white.
It wasn't easy, so much detail, so many shades of green, so many trees to choose from, how to fit those huge trees into a small canvas. And then there are the bugs, mosquitoes, ants, the breeze, the sun drying the paints, the moving shadows, so different from painting indoors.
But the sunshine, the clouds, the birdsong all combined to make it a fun experience. I'd do it again. Here's my basic painting.... lots more to do on it.


Sunday, 3 June 2018

On the Roof

When I first moved here, the cable TV from the previous occupants was still hooked up and working, so I continued to use it for over a year until the cable company came knocking on my door and disconnected it. Spoilsports!
So I decided that cable TV was far too expensive to pay for all those channels showing TV programmes that I don't want to watch, so up went the antenna on the roof.

It's connected through my TiVo, and I  have a choice of about 25 channels.... most of which I never turn on, they are either religious, or in a different language, or ancient American TV shows that I'm not interested in.
CBC, CTV, PBS and TVO provide everything that I want to watch.
I share Netflix with OlderSon.
And I can follow the sadly dwindling fortunes of the BlueJays on MLB.TV via Chromecast.
So I have lots to entertain me.

Next was the internet.... which I can get through a private internet provider for less than half price of my previous monthly bill. Then it was time to get rid of the land phone line and sign up for VOIP internet phone..... after an initial outlay of money to get started, just top up the account two or three times a year. Definitely a lot cheaper than any of the major phone companies.

I've been successfully using these innovative systems for 3 or 4 years now. It all works just fine! Thank goodness for YoungerSon who has helped me connect all this technical stuff, I would have never been able to negotiate through this minefield by myself.

Friday, 18 May 2018

Dandelion Delight

Golden sunshine is springing up all over the back lawn, so let's make use of all those sunny dandelions. They may be considered weeds, but for me they have their own style of beauty.
I'm sure my neighbours were peeking out of their windows wondering what is that weird person doing on her hands and knees......
In French the lowly dandelion is named piss-en-lit. Rough translation.... wet the bed! So called because the leaves are diuretic. The whole plant is edible, and once I made some pretty strong dandelion wine from the blossoms.

After completing this piece of "performance art" and taking some photos, I dashed off to pick up my grandies from school as usual, and when I got home, the lawn mower had been by and my masterpiece was no more!

But there are plenty more dandelions to come.

The next day, my sweet grandie Emma was at my house for her scheduled "dinner date", and helped make this lovely dandelion sunburst.
Can you see the little violet in the centre?

Inspiration comes from the art of British artist Andy Goldsworthy. Make sure you scroll down to see some of his inspired work.

Wednesday, 16 May 2018

Early Morning Visitor

I peeked out of my front door this morning at 7:00am, and guess who was snuffling about on the grass, looking for a breakfast of tasty bugs and grubs?

She (or he?) eventually wandered off past the garage so I ventured down the front steps to see where she had gone. But she changed her mind and we met at the garage wall, almost nose to nose. Both of us hastily beat a retreat.
I had seen the same skunk the previous evening, investigating a neighbour's deck and looking in their door. I guess when you are armed with such a powerful aromatic defensive weapon, you can be as bold as you like, nobody wants to argue with you.

Sunday, 13 May 2018

Young at Art

Each year the Gallery shows student art from all the elementary schools in the area.
This is the school where my grandies are students, but I don't know if any of the featured art is their work. There's some scary interesting stuff here!

Wednesday, 9 May 2018

New and Improved

Our local Leisure Centre has been getting a major facelift and expansion adding over 42,000 sq. ft. to the building over the past year. The town is growing fast and the original facility was just not big enough to provide the needs of the population.
The public library relocated to a rental space for a few months over the winter so the original library area could be expanded to twice it's original size and last week the new and improved library space opened to the public.
The shelf ends are still to be installed. Lots of convenient work spaces and glass cubicles for meetings and study. Electric points at every table. And there's even a coffee vending machine and an enclosed outdoor courtyard where you can sit and drink your cuppa java.
 A colourful lounge area for just sitting and reading. Computers for kids, and lots of children's literature on those lower shelves.
The new open seating viewing area for the swimming pool. The pool has been in use for a number of years but the area for parents to watch their children's swimming lessons was very small and cramped, this is so much nicer.
A peek through the window at the shiny floor of the new gymnasium. And the fitness and aerobics centre has been expanded with new equipment and exercise rooms.
During the summer, the final construction will be completed with the Art Gallery moving from it's current location into a larger space at the Leisure Centre.
My tax money well spent, I think!

Monday, 7 May 2018

"Art in the Dark" Update:

Update: Well, the 2018 Art Show and Sale is history, three days without power and having to haul in a generator in order to pump water to flush the toilets. One for the record books, definitely.
And of course, the electricity came on just as the door was being locked at the close of the final day! Oh well......
I sold two pieces of art and 10 greeting cards. A lot less than last year, but I'm happy that a lot of people said they liked my work, even though they didn't buy it.
The crowds were smaller this year, which is hardly surprising as many people were still without power after Friday's ferocious windstorm, or they were busy dealing with fallen trees, flattened fences or trying to contact the insurance companies about their lost roof shingles. So much damage done by those fierce winds.
Now on to the next show in 2019..... let's hope the weather is better.

Saturday, 5 May 2018

Blown Away!

The opening night of the Annual Art Show and Sale..... and Southern Ontario encountered gusty 100km/hour winds knocking down trees and hydro poles, flattening fences and causing extensive power cuts.
I could hardly stand up in the wind.
And it's really hard to appreciate Art when you can't see what you're looking at.
I've heard of Art in the Park, but this was Art in the Dark!

We had a few hardy souls who made it to the Community Centre to look at the paintings, but not many wanted to brave the weather. Flashlights and cell phones were used to light our way. And I even sold a painting in the dark.... admittedly it was to a friend who had seen the work before I framed it.
Today the electricity is back on, so we are hoping for visits from lots of art lovers.

Art Show Update later: although the power has been restored at my house, we had another full day without power at the Art Show. At least it was daylight! But no water for flushing toilets so the town brought in a water tank and a generator.... I wonder what tomorrow holds.

Meanwhile, early this morning, I had a cute fluffy black and white visitor to my back yard. Flower, from the Bambi movie.
She (or he?) scuttled away through the hole under the fence to the right.
Update: I've since seen this same skunk many times, it's very bold and not at all frightened of people.

Friday, 4 May 2018

Annual Art Show and Sale, WooHoo!

I've been a non-blogger for a while mainly because I've been busy getting myself in gear for our local Annual Art Show and Sale which happens this weekend, Friday 4, Saturday 5 and Sunday 6 May. But that doesn't mean I haven't been doing other things.

  • I went to see the Moscow Festival Ballet's production of "Giselle". Fabulous! My toes hurt just watching those ballerinas en pointe.
  • I saw a junior production of Shakespeare's "A Midsummer Night's Dream" in our local theatre, totally performed by young people 18 and under. Again, fabulous! So many words to remember.
  • I saw the movie "Loving Vincent", an animated feature film created from thousands of fine art oil paintings in the style of Vincent Van Gogh. Impressive art and a fascinating story.
  • One of the local churches staged a Murder Mystery play.... yes I know, sort of strange activity for a church. There were many twists and turn in the dialogue, and in the end the audience was asked to write down "whodunnit". Of course, I got it completely wrong.... but it was lots of fun trying to decide who the baddie was.
  • And I went to a concert by The Ennis Sisters, three singing sisters from St Johns, Newfoundland, beautiful harmonies and witty commentary, loved the whole evening!

But back to the Art Show and Sale.....

I arranged most of my paintings on the bed as they all had to be tagged with the price card and my business card. I also have some matted lino prints for sale and some original watercolour greeting cards with envelopes. I hope to sell it all..... ha ha wishful thinking probably!!!!!!

Sunday, 22 April 2018

Earth Day Poop Rant


Image result for earth day images
It's Earth Day today. We all need to take care of whatever tiny corner of the planet we live in. I try to recycle and reuse everything that I can, but there's still a small bag of garbage to be picked up every couple of weeks. Mostly plastic stuff that can't be recycled which makes me feel very guilty.
I'm looking after my granddog Tessa this weekend. We just went out for a nice walkies, especially enjoyable as the sky is blue and the sun is shining for the first time for a couple of weeks. My pockets always have at least 3 recyclable poop bags tucked away, in case of doggy emergencies. That's the worst thing about dog walking..... picking up that poop! Yuk.

However, I do it, secure the bag, and take it home and put it in the green bin.

But on our walk today, I saw five, YES FIVE!, used squished poop bags, full of you-know-what, tied and thrown in the bushes. Disgusting and nasty! Surely, if you can be bothered to pick up your dog's poop in a recyclable bag, you can find the energy to carry it home and dispose of it responsibly.
Come on dog owners, do your bit to keep our neighbourhood clean!

Rant over.

Monday, 16 April 2018

Gallery Space

About 15 or so years ago a new Recreation Centre was built incorporating a library, some meeting rooms, a swimming pool and a fitness centre. As this town's population has grown over the years, it has become obvious that the building wasn't large enough to supply the town's needs.
After many months of on again / off again building plans and debates on the rising cost by town council, construction of the new expansion started a couple of years ago, and the project is almost complete.
The expanded library opens today with a great celebration, but unfortunately we've had a huge ice storm all weekend and I can't even get out of my snowy icy driveway this morning to go and see it. I'll have to wait until all the ice melts!
The new fitness area is almost complete, and will be ready by July.
And our small Art Gallery will be moving to a larger space in the new building.... with the entrance just inside the front doors, so much easier for the public to access the space dedicated to art. The Gallery is currently in a building set back from the main street, and somewhat out of the public eye.... you have to want to go there!
So in anticipation of the move, the gallery work space is being organised.

The gallery work space is used for art classes, children's art camps, school groups, paint battles, family art days. The walls are lined with shelves containing paint, markers, crayons, inks, brushes, paper, canvases, art books. I meet with my art group, AAP Collective, there on Monday mornings. It will be so nice to move into the new space when it's complete.

Meanwhile, there are children's art classes still continuing. I wonder how long these coloured pencils will stay colour-coordinated.....!

Friday, 13 April 2018

Come From Away

Have you heard about the musical production Come From Away? It's the story of the more than 7,000 passengers and airline personnel and some travelling animals on 38 wide-body planes that were stranded at the small town of Gander in Newfoundland in the days after the 9/11 tragedy in 2001. You can read about how all the travellers were taken care of by the good people of Gander and the surrounding small towns here.

Ten years after 9/11 in 2011, there was a reunion of the passengers, airline personnel and the townspeople in Gander, and an idea was born. Canadian writing team Irene Sankoff and David Hein created the musical Come From Away to tell the incredible story of how a small town of 10,000 souls selflessly fed, housed, clothed, and generally cared for more than 7,000 bewildered and frightened travellers from all over the world who didn't know what was happening or what to think.

Tickets for this popular musical are hard to get, and also pretty expensive, but last January I got together with some friends and we bought tickets for April..... and earlier this week we saw the show. We went downtown on the GO bus and train (I hate parking in Toronto so public transport is the best option), enjoyed a yummy dinner at Marche, then headed to the Royal Alexandra Theatre on King Street.
We got to our theatre seats, and immediately I recognized a woman who I worked with more than 15 years ago.... she was sitting in the row right in front of me! Small world, right?
The opening set of Come From Away. No photos during the performance, of course. The chairs that you see are mostly used as chairs, but can magically become school buses, planes, cars, beds, a lookout over a beautiful view, seating for a party, stage for a musician. And each actor can become many different characters depending on what hat or jacket he's wearing. The show runs 100 minutes with no intermission. There were side-splitting hilarious moments, and heart-breaking moments too. A wonderful show, I enjoyed it so much. It was worth waiting for.
If you have a chance to get your hands on a ticket.... it's a must-see show!

Tuesday, 10 April 2018

Trees Second Try

I'm not satisfied with the painting shown in the previous post so I tried again.  Always fun to see just how a different technique can change the outcome.

Similar colours, but the backgound was textured with plastic shelf liner, and the trees are acrylic paint marker.  I'll probably have another go at this subject later this week. Sorry, this is a really crummy photo.

Sunday, 8 April 2018

Trees

Just did this 8"x10" painting today, trying to be looser and attempting to use the palette knife, but I think the tree trunks and branches are too dark. And too messy.


Friday, 6 April 2018

Spring!

The view out of my kitchen window about 5 minutes ago......

... yes, that's snow falling from the sky! In fact, it's been snowing all day.
Isn't Spring wonderful????

Wednesday, 4 April 2018

Chair Time

As promised in my previous blog post..... the chairs in the AAP Collective art exhibition on display at our local Municipal Offices until the end of April.
AAP? What does that stand for? It could stand for many phrases.... Another Artist Paints, Amazing Art Projects, but in this case it's.....

ART AIN'T PRETTY!


BLUE VINCENT by Colin W

NAMASTE by Ed K

CHANNELING PIET MONDRIAN by Margaret G

ENDO by Diana B

FISH by Susan W

THE THREE HARES by Fenella R S

(Oooops I forgot the title, I'll have to look it up) by Sabrina S

More paintings and prints are on the right wall.... I'll post some more pics soon.

Saturday, 24 March 2018

Have a Seat

Our Monday morning art group are hosting a mini art exhibition starting next week, and one of our art projects has been to renovate and decorate an old piece of furniture. It could be a chair, a table, a footstool, whatever has been discarded.

Sometimes treasures can be found at the side of the road on garbage day, you just have to be at the right place at the right time. I kept looking but didn't find anything suitable.

I eventually found this child's chair at the local thrift shop, and took it home, but when I started sanding it down I noticed one of the stretchers between the chair legs was missing, making the whole thing a bit wobbly and unsafe.

A quick trip to the local lumber store for a dowel and then some TLC from a friend with a saw and a hammer fixed things fairly quickly.

Then a spray can of glossy black paint covered up the worst of the dents and scratches, and the Three Hares design was carefully painted on the seat in gesso. 

The Three Hares is an ancient design found in many locations including China, the Middle East, France, England..... a puzzle really, with each hare having two ears, but only 3 ears actually appearing.
Then the hares were painted with colourful acrylic paint. 

Now I'm debating whether to add any colour to the existing pressed wood design on the back of the chair..... what do you think?

Blog edit a few days later: I've decided to leave the chair as it is, no more colour. Just a coat of gloss medium over the paint to give it some shine. I'll be posting pics of the other art chairs once we get the exhibition started.

Saturday, 17 March 2018

All Greek for St Patrick

Today, I went to a St Patrick's Day bake sale to buy some yummy goodies, but there wasn't any Irish stew or Colcannon anywhere in sight..... the bake sale was held by the nuns of the Holy Theotokos Convent.
The Holy Theotokos Convent is a small community of Greek Orthodox nuns located in tiny Cedar Valley in the heart of Ontario countryside. The nuns produce 100% pure beeswax candles for both church use and for general sale. They also produce natural products such as soap, moisturizers and lip balms. You can find out more about the convent here.

The shop was bustling with people who had all driven out into the country to the Convent to buy the pastries and the candles. It was a strange mixture of aromas of both beeswax and baking, beautiful candles for sale, colourful secular Easter egg and Easter bunny decorations, shamrocks and leprechauns and Orthodox religious icons, all presided over by the friendly nuns dressed from head to toe in black robes.

But they bake the most wonderful Greek pastries.
I came home with a custard tart, a pecan butter tart, a Greek cookie covered in icing sugar but I can't remember the Greek name, and two spanakopita pastries. Happy (Greek) St Patrick's Day!

Wednesday, 14 March 2018

Happy Pi Day!

Happy Pi Day! 


I'm admitting that this is a blatant repeat of my post published more than ten years ago, but maybe this will be the first time you see it! Anyway, Pi doesn't change, it's constant, and Pi Day happens every year on this date, so just read on and then go and have some pie.
Today is March 14 .... 3.14 ..... in other words, Pi Day!
(It's also Albert Einstein's birthday!) (And also the day that theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking passed away today 14 March 2018. An appropriate date.)

The Greek letter Pi is the symbol for the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter. It is approximately 22/7 and is usually calculated to 3 digits, 3.14, and is the most revered mathematical constant in the known universe.
Remember your Grade 9 math class?

With the use of computers, Pi has been calculated to over 1 trillion digits past the decimal. That's a whole lot of numbers!

So celebrate Pi Day with nerds worldwide by singing this little song, to the tune of "O Christmas Tree", all together now:

Oh, number Pi
Oh, number Pi 
Your digits are unending,
Oh, number Pi
Oh, number Pi
No pattern are you sending.
You're three point one four one five nine,
And even more if we had time,
Oh, number Pi
Oh, number Pi
For circle lengths unbending.

Oh, number Pi
Oh, number Pi
You are a number very sweet,
Oh, number Pi
Oh, number Pi
Your uses are so very neat.
There's 2 Pi r and Pi r squared,
A half a circle and you're there,
Oh, number Pi
Oh, number Pi
We know that Pi's a tasty treat.

(Lyrics by LaVern Christianson, math teacher Windom, MN, USA)

Friday, 2 March 2018

Back to Normal?

Oh-oh, I looked at the date and I haven't posted for almost a month! Probably because I haven't really been very far from home or done anything very exciting. Even though I was given permission to drive only 2 weeks after the hip surgery, YoungerSon had commandeered my car while his was getting some TLC, so I was without wheels. And then of course, there was the Olympics, and it was so easy to make myself comfortable on the couch and watch all those crazy athletes vying for medals. I loved it! Canada surpassed expectations in the medal count, Go CANADA Go, but we fell down badly in both the men's and women's curling, which Canada was expected to win. However we won gold in the mixed doubles curling, a new Olympic sport this year. Hooray!
So what else have I been doing? I went to see the movie "Peter Rabbit", yep those cute little bunnies wearing jackets are REAL I tell you! And I donated this small framed lino print for the silent auction at our Art Gallery Auction, I wonder if anyone will bid on it.
And the new hip update: all doing well, only 2 more physiotherapy visits left. The site of the incision is still a bit sore, but I'm walking upright and straight, and both legs are the same length, phew!
And just because it's still cold and a bit snowy outside, and winter isn't over yet, here are the lovely primroses (or are they primula?) a gift from my thoughtful daughter-in-law.



Tuesday, 6 February 2018

HIPster Update

I know everyone out there in the blog world is anxiously waiting for an update of how my shiny new right hip is doing.... and the news is good.

A visit to the hospital this morning for a couple of x-rays and a follow-up visit with the surgeon.
I've had a giant waterproof bandaid on my leg since the surgery, with "Remove on Feb 6" written in big black letters, my own "Best Before Date". So it was carefully removed revealing a perfectly neat 4.5 inch incision held together with about 25 staples. Definitely a thing of beauty!
I was so impressed.

The staples were popped out (you can see them in the x-rays), some steristrips installed over the scar, and I was given some spare steristrips in case they fall off during the next few days, which no doubt they will. One was off by the time I got home from the hospital.

And that's it for today..... more x-rays and an appointment in 6 weeks.  Still a bit sore, and I'm still using the walking stick for balance rather than support, but I'll soon be able to get around without it.

And the best part..... I'm OK to drive my car again!
All this in 15 days since total hip replacement surgery..... amazing.
Thank you to my surgeon, he did a great job.

Friday, 2 February 2018

Candlemas

Today is February 2nd..... 40 days after Christmas. The ancient celebration of Candlemas.

Candlemas is a Christian holy day commemorating the Purification of Mary and the Presentation of Jesus at the Temple. Some Christian communities bring candles to church, where the candles are blessed and then used for the rest of the year.

In France and Belgium, crepes or thin pancakes are a traditional Candlemas treat. Each family member cooks a pancake while holding a coin in the other hand, thus ensuring wealth and happiness for the next year. The pancakes are round and golden in colour, and are a symbol of the return of spring sunshine after a cold winter.

In Mexico, the presentation of Jesus in the Temple is celebrated with family meals of tamales. Whoever finds the bean in the king-cake at Christmastime is responsible for cooking the Candlemas tamales for the whole family.

There's a theory that Candlemas derives from pagan celebrations as it occurs halfway between the December solstice and the March equinox, winter's halfway point while waiting for spring.

Many people believed that Candlemas Day predicted the weather for the rest of the winter. A bright sunny Candlemas meant more winter to come, and a cloudy wet stormy Candlemas meant that the worst of the winter was over. This is the basis for the February 2nd tradition of North America.... Groundhog Day. Will the groundhog see his shadow? I wonder.......

If Candlemas Day be fair and bright
Winter will have another fight.
If Candlemas Day brings cloud and rain,
Winter won't come again.

Tuesday, 30 January 2018

I'm so HIP!

Many thanks to the kind bloggers who wished me a happy time away from home during the past week..... yes, I did have a good time, but not quite what you might expect!

OlderSon delivered me to the local hospital at 6:30am last Monday morning. At 8:00am I walked into the operating room, met my surgeon and his team, hopped up onto the operating table and was given a shiny new right hip joint using a new procedure for this surgeon, Direct Anterior Approach Hip Replacement, or DAA. By 12 noon I had recovered and was moved to the 3rd floor to join OlderSon.

The surgeon came to see me a couple of hours later, and encouraged me out of bed, and I walked a few steps up and down the room, the surgeon on one arm and a nurse on the other.

The next day, Tuesday, was busy with visits from the hospital physiotherapist, the pain doctor, the cardiac doctor, the pharmacist, numerous blood pressure checks, the surgeon wanting to check on his work, as well as lessons how to walk up and down stairs safely. YoungerSon came to get me in the afternoon, and I went to a local Senior Retirement Residence for 7 days respite and recovery.

Direct Anterior Approach Hip Replacement, or DAA, has only been performed at this hospital since November. Instead of a 10 inch incision at the side or back of the leg, DAA has a small 4 inch incision at the front of the leg. Recovery is much faster and there are no restrictions on movement of the new joint. I was able to walk with a walker immediately, and although the incision area is still a little tender, I'm starting to walk with a cane.

Staples come out next week, and then I'll start physiotherapy. And I'll soon be as good as new! I'm thinking positive thoughts. And it gives me the perfect excuse to stay in the warm during this cold snowy weather.

Sunday, 28 January 2018

Blue Jeans and Buttons

Torn and faded blue jeans have been given a new lease on life by Judith Tinkl. To me these are no longer just slices of ripped denim, destined for the used clothing recycling bin, but have been turned in to lovely landscapes and architectural drawings, even maps.




Judith Tinkl's quilts and textile creations are not meant to keep you warm at night, although they could. They are meant to be displayed on the wall, and I think they are beautiful.

This one is called Oma, Opa, Obi and was stitched in 2011.



Post scheduled while I'm away this week.